Iraq seizes French journalists' kidnapper

11th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

BAGHDAD, April 11 (AFP) - Iraqi security forces have arrested one of the kidnappers of two French journalists held for 124 days before being freed last December, the defence ministry said on Monday.

BAGHDAD, April 11 (AFP) - Iraqi security forces have arrested one of the kidnappers of two French journalists held for 124 days before being freed last December, the defence ministry said on Monday.

Without naming the journalists - Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot - a ministry statement said troops "on April 4, 2005 at 05:00 am (0100 GMT) arrested the criminal Amer Hussein Shikhan who admitted kidnapping two French journalists, along with a Syrian, and having taken part in other terrorist operations."

It gave no other details.

Chesnot, of French radio RFI, and Malbrunot from the newspaper Le Figaro, were seized with their Syrian driver Mohamed al-Jundi on August 20 en route to the holy city of Najaf, 160 kilometres (100 miles) south of Baghdad.

They were finally freed on December 21.

In a statement broadcast on Qatar-based Al-Jazira television late in August, the Islamic Army in Iraq said it had carried out the kidnapping and demanded France scrap a law banning visible signs of religion, such as the Islamic veil, in public schools.

Besides countless Iraqis being seized, around 200 foreigners have been taken hostage in Iraq since last April when twin Shiite-Sunni uprisings shook the country. Some kidnappings were carried out for political ends, others for cash.

Most of those kidnapped have ultimately been freed but some have been murdered by their captors and their deaths, sometimes by beheading, displayed on gruesome videos.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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